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‘  Military Division of North Carolina.’ In his absence, the captain of our battery (Captain L. H. Webb, Company A, Thirteenth Battalion North Carolina Light Artillery) was in command. You will remember that the days of which I speak were times that tried men's souls, and put to the severest test the metal with which the Confederate soldiers were made. All signs indicated that ‘the end was near at hand.’ Lee had abandoned Petersburg and Richmond, though this was unknown to us until several days thereafter, as I shall later on show; all of North Carolina east of the Wilmington and Weldon railroad had been given up; and Sherman had made his memorable march through Georgia to the sea, and through the Carolinas, having as his objective point Goldsboro, where he purposed to form a junction with Schofield, moving from Newberne and Kinston, and with Terry, moving from Wilmington. This was accomplished by him on the 23d of March, 1865. The giant arms of an octopus were rapidly closing upon the Confederacy in her final desperate but grand struggle for independence. Just one month previous to the junction of these three armies, flushed as they were with victory, that old war-horse, General Joe Johnston, had relieved Beauregard at Charlotte, N. C., and was charged with the difficult task of collecting and uniting in one army the scattered of Bragg, Hardee, Hood and Beauregard, for one supreme effort to stay the tide of the invader, and he prepared, if necessary, to unite his forces at Danville with those of Lee, who even then contemplated abandoning his position around Petersburg for that purpose, with the hope that the two armies might fall upon Sherman and crush him before Grant could come to his assistance. Vain hope born of desperation; for Sherman, having reached Goldsboro, his next plan was not to follow after Johnston, but open communication with Grant, so that the two might act together. This is shown by his special order, issued April 5th, at Goldsboro, which reads: ‘The next grand objective is to place this army (with its full equipment) north of Roanoke river, facing west, with a base for supplies at Norfolk, and at Winston or Murfreesboro on the Chowan, and in full communication with the Army of the Potomac at Petersburg; and also to do the enemy as much harm as possible en route.’ His army was to move on the 10th of April, in three columns of 25,000 each, with his cavalry under Kilpatrick, aiming directly for Weldon until it had crossed the Tar river, the general point of concentration being Warrenton, N. C. But his whole plan was suddenly changed by the news of the fall of Richmond and Petersburg, which reached him at Goldsboro on the
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